Lead with the best version of yourself.

Perception is Reality, But is it?

by M. Chris Wingate

Perception is reality. We’ve all heard this phrase; and most of us have likely used it at some point in time. When leaders use the phrase “perception is reality” they are likely making assumptions about others without taking the time to learn if the perception is accurate. This phrase is rooted in a lack of humility and needs to be removed from our lexicon once and for all.

According to psychologists, a more accurate phrase is “perception is my reality.” Leaders often use “perception is reality” as a heuristic due to either being too busy or uninterested in asking additional questions to understand what’s really going on. Having the maturity to ask questions and determine why takes time, patience, and humility.  

Said a different way, perception is reality is a leader’s inability or lack of interest in understanding the character or motives of the individual in question. I’m guilty of it. I’ve used it in the past as a junior officer and I honestly did not think much of it at the time. Unconsciously I thought, “My boss said it, so I’m going to say it because he (or she) is successful, and I want to be like them someday.” So, we emulate those who have gone before us and inadvertently display the same lack of humility while never taking a step back to explore what we’re really saying to our subordinates.

10 More Ways Commanders Can Embolden their PAO and Communicate Better

by Kevin Sandell

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part series focused on improving your unit’s communication efforts through your Public Affairs Office. The first part of this series can be read here.

The unit public affairs office (PAO) – and ultimately the unit’s ability to communicate with its internal and external audiences – deteriorates without two critical factors: commander support and emphasis. Public affairs is a commander responsibility, and the ability to shape and affect the information environment ultimately falls to the commander. By laying out his/her intent for public affairs, the commander emboldens the unit’s PAO to synchronize public and command information, crisis communication, visual information, and community engagement activities.

The One Thing Series: No Longer One of the Guys

by Chad Corrigan

One thing I learned early in Squadron command is that I was no longer one of the guys.

You cross a major threshold when you transition from company grade through field grade time and on to Squadron Command. I may have felt the same, but I wasn’t perceived the same. I still felt like a Captain. But I wasn’t a Captain anymore. My words and actions hit with much more weight. I had to be deliberate when I spoke. I had to be careful with humor to not accidentally hurt someone. Commanding a Squadron isn’t just a bigger company. I was completely comfortable in an Apache battalion. I grew up in the hangar. But now my presence rippled through the building when I walked in.

The One Thing Series: Leading in the Present

by Christopher Williams

 “The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own”

Readers have likely heard a form of this quote at some point in their careers – be it a podcast or article on leadership, a book on living well, or from a leader in an organization of which they were a part. Though a simple message, many of us fall short in aspiring to this ‘chief task,’ as presented so eloquently by Epictetus.

A Different Point of View: A Military Child’s Perspective of the Task

By McKenzie Dull

My dad was a soldier in the United States Army long before I was born. It is all I have ever known. Being around people who serve is a way of life to me and something I took for granted and did not fully understand. It wasn’t until recently, after watching the 2022 West Point commencement speech given by General Mark Milley, that I discovered the incredible responsibility those who serve willingly take. Simply stated, it became clear to me that their task is to support and defend the idea of America and to do so with convicted courage and character.

Moral Injury: A Primer

by Caleb Miller

Military professionals are relatively familiar with general mental health and PTSD; a newer concept, “moral injury,” has been growing in popularity for the past few decades among top leaders, counselors, psychologists and chaplains. Since the month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month and June is PTSD Awareness Month, I would like to highlight the concept of moral injury as it has emerged in the military lexicon by answering three questions.

What is it? Why does it matter? How can we address it?

Strength in Inclusion

by Jakob Hutter

A unique characteristic of the United States military is the diverse makeup of people and their ideas. 

When service members of different races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and other identities have a shared understanding and commitment to the same mission the team can perform at a higher level, are more likely to be innovative and adaptive to shifting circumstances, and more likely to achieve organizational outcomes. 

The Science and Art of Command

by Michael Everett

Does the Army practice Mission Command? Or Command and Control?

After the 2019 update to ADP 6-0 Mission Command, many young leaders are confused about the terms command and control and mission command.

The bottom line is this: Mission command is the United States Army’s approach to command and control (C2). It became clear that doctrine devoid of C2 is not the optimum way to communicate where mission command lies in the spectrum of warfighting. The 2019 version of ADP 6-0 makes it clear that mission command is meant to enable the command of troops and the control of operations. This vital piece of information clarifies the purpose of mission command and how to frame its implementation.